Waltham Forest Council yet to produce evidence that anti-fraud rules were followed when 420k given to organisation representing private businesses

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: WFBB chairman Michael Polledri said he is happy to stand by his organisation's record WFBB chairman Michael Polledri said he is happy to stand by his organisation's record

Hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money was given to an organisation representing private businesses in Waltham Forest by the council without a formal agreement on how the money should be spent or monitored, evidence suggests.

Data released under the Freedom of Information Act shows the council gave Waltham Forest Business Board (WFBB), set up to promote commerce in one of London’s smallest economies, £421,000 between 2009 and 2012.

A large portion of the money was given to the E11 Bid Company, which was established to support businesses in Leytonstone and is now the subject of a police fraud investigation.

E11 Bid’s managing director, Fawaad Sheikh, was a director of WFBB’s operating arm, Waltham Forest Business CIC, at the time the payment of £150,000 was made.

The council has so far provided no evidence that required checks were carried out before the money was handed over.

It has also not explained why WFBB, which is not accountable to the public, was used to distribute the grant when the authority gave E11 Bid large amounts of money directly on other occasions.

The council has so far provided no evidence that a formal arrangement was in place on how the money should be spent and whether outcomes were monitored, as required by law.

The payment to WFBB raises further serious questions about Waltham Forest Council’s handling of taxpayers’ money following previous long-term mismanagement.

WFBB insist E11 Bid’s application for funding was assessed by the council.

But the authority, which was responsible for assessing E11 Bid’s annual accounts, has not explained why the application was approved despite audits in 2010 and 2011 showing financial turmoil, with chaotic accounts and staff not registered with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

Deputy council leader Clyde Loakes was a director of E11 Bid between November 2010 and August 2011.

The authority said the money was allocated in accordance with government requirements.

A council spokeswoman said: “The £400,000 paid to the WFBB was a non-ring fenced grant, the Local Authority Business Growth Incentive, released by the previous government to help councils promote business growth locally.

“It was given to councils on a discretionary basis for them to utilise in accordance with business needs in their respective areas.

“This was therefore under grant conditions, as applied by the government to the council, and not technically a contract.”

The authority also said payments and project outcomes were monitored through progress reports submitted by the WFBB.

However, the council has refused to provide the Guardian with the relevant documents.

The authority says this is because a Freedom of Information Act disclosure is pending.

Michael Polledri MBE, chairman of the WFBB, said the expenditure was audited in full by Barnes Rolfe, with a full monitoring process from the local authority.

He said the money was divided between business improvement districts and various activities in the borough, such as shop front improvement grants and an appeal against business rates.

“As a business board we are held up as an exemplar throughout the country of good practice arrangements between the local authority and the private sector and I’m happy to stand on our record,” he added.

Nick Tiratsoo, whose research has uncovered failings in the management of public funds by Waltham Forest Council, said: "Once again Waltham Forest Council is found to be passing round public money without proper controls, this time to the unelected and unaccountable ‘representatives’ of the business lobby.

"That a large portion of these funds apparently then ended up with the crisis-riven E11 BID Co. only goes to show what happens when normal procedures to ensure probity are ignored."

Comments (27)

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2:51pm Fri 31 Jan 14

cynicalsue says...

The evidence is most probably in the asbestos-ridden basement with all the other we-don't-want-the-pu
blic-to-see documents.
The evidence is most probably in the asbestos-ridden basement with all the other we-don't-want-the-pu blic-to-see documents. cynicalsue
  • Score: 15

4:35pm Fri 31 Jan 14

Villagecranberry says...

When will the police be called or is it just accept that it was Trebles all round?

Another Labour farce with public finances.

Remember folks, vote them back next time round.
When will the police be called or is it just accept that it was Trebles all round? Another Labour farce with public finances. Remember folks, vote them back next time round. Villagecranberry
  • Score: -4

6:46pm Fri 31 Jan 14

Techno3 says...

Can we please just be clear: the organisation in question does not 'represent private businesses.' There are people who may claim it does that that but there are many hundreds of local businesses who have nothing whatsoever to do with those people.
Can we please just be clear: the organisation in question does not 'represent private businesses.' There are people who may claim it does that that but there are many hundreds of local businesses who have nothing whatsoever to do with those people. Techno3
  • Score: 6

6:52pm Fri 31 Jan 14

NTiratsoo says...

So, if the local paper is to be believed, the unelected and unaccountable Michael Polledri MBE was given public money to pay for 'an appeal against business rates'.

Quite extraordinary.
So, if the local paper is to be believed, the unelected and unaccountable Michael Polledri MBE was given public money to pay for 'an appeal against business rates'. Quite extraordinary. NTiratsoo
  • Score: 18

9:50pm Fri 31 Jan 14

Love your high street says...

Can I say 'a hugh' thanks to Nick Tiratsoo for reveling the Council and the WBB'S business deal.
May I ask where all this money been spent? I can't see any of it in Leytonstone. Well, I am still waiting for the Olympics works to be completed in the Leytonstone High Street and the works on Kirkdale Road with the junction of Leytonstone High Street to be changed to two-way. Is this ever going to happen? The dirty pavement needs to be cleaned or will it be left dirty? Dirty streets - an Olympic legacy?
Can I say 'a hugh' thanks to Nick Tiratsoo for reveling the Council and the WBB'S business deal. May I ask where all this money been spent? I can't see any of it in Leytonstone. Well, I am still waiting for the Olympics works to be completed in the Leytonstone High Street and the works on Kirkdale Road with the junction of Leytonstone High Street to be changed to two-way. Is this ever going to happen? The dirty pavement needs to be cleaned or will it be left dirty? Dirty streets - an Olympic legacy? Love your high street
  • Score: 15

9:58pm Fri 31 Jan 14

Love your high street says...

So will the Directors of the E11BID Co. ever pay the taxes due to the inland revenue or will they not? Is there any consequences for not paying taxes for a councillor Director? What are the consequences for deducting taxes from an employee whilst not registered? Is there any answer or will the tax man need to be involved? What are the political parties stance on this? Another Geoff Hammond? Vote Labour!
So will the Directors of the E11BID Co. ever pay the taxes due to the inland revenue or will they not? Is there any consequences for not paying taxes for a councillor Director? What are the consequences for deducting taxes from an employee whilst not registered? Is there any answer or will the tax man need to be involved? What are the political parties stance on this? Another Geoff Hammond? Vote Labour! Love your high street
  • Score: 6

10:06pm Fri 31 Jan 14

livedheretoolong says...

The funny thing is that we never hear about any of these stories in the Council's own 'newspaper' WFN.
It's about time we had a Dispatches or Panorama investigation, preferably just before the May election.
The funny thing is that we never hear about any of these stories in the Council's own 'newspaper' WFN. It's about time we had a Dispatches or Panorama investigation, preferably just before the May election. livedheretoolong
  • Score: 8

10:23pm Fri 31 Jan 14

Love your high street says...

livedheretoolong wrote:
The funny thing is that we never hear about any of these stories in the Council's own 'newspaper' WFN.
It's about time we had a Dispatches or Panorama investigation, preferably just before the May election.
There's some money to be saved!
[quote][p][bold]livedheretoolong[/bold] wrote: The funny thing is that we never hear about any of these stories in the Council's own 'newspaper' WFN. It's about time we had a Dispatches or Panorama investigation, preferably just before the May election.[/p][/quote]There's some money to be saved! Love your high street
  • Score: 6

11:40pm Fri 31 Jan 14

Villagecranberry says...

One thing for sure, whenever any scandal like this, Al 1976 goes 'all quiet over there, all goes quiet over there, all goes quiet, all goes quiet, all goes quiet over there!'. Just saying.
One thing for sure, whenever any scandal like this, Al 1976 goes 'all quiet over there, all goes quiet over there, all goes quiet, all goes quiet, all goes quiet over there!'. Just saying. Villagecranberry
  • Score: -10

9:40am Sat 1 Feb 14

Alan_1976 says...

Villagecranberry wrote:
One thing for sure, whenever any scandal like this, Al 1976 goes 'all quiet over there, all goes quiet over there, all goes quiet, all goes quiet, all goes quiet over there!'. Just saying.
Sorry to not be able to feed your bizarre obsession with me. Had other more enjoyable things to do on a Friday night.

Everything that needs to be said about this corrupt council has been said above.

You are a very sad individual. Just saying
[quote][p][bold]Villagecranberry[/bold] wrote: One thing for sure, whenever any scandal like this, Al 1976 goes 'all quiet over there, all goes quiet over there, all goes quiet, all goes quiet, all goes quiet over there!'. Just saying.[/p][/quote]Sorry to not be able to feed your bizarre obsession with me. Had other more enjoyable things to do on a Friday night. Everything that needs to be said about this corrupt council has been said above. You are a very sad individual. Just saying Alan_1976
  • Score: 13

10:02am Sat 1 Feb 14

Alan_1976 says...

livedheretoolong wrote:
The funny thing is that we never hear about any of these stories in the Council's own 'newspaper' WFN.
It's about time we had a Dispatches or Panorama investigation, preferably just before the May election.
There is stuff to read in that thing? I thought it was merely supplied as free firelighters
[quote][p][bold]livedheretoolong[/bold] wrote: The funny thing is that we never hear about any of these stories in the Council's own 'newspaper' WFN. It's about time we had a Dispatches or Panorama investigation, preferably just before the May election.[/p][/quote]There is stuff to read in that thing? I thought it was merely supplied as free firelighters Alan_1976
  • Score: 8

10:37am Sat 1 Feb 14

myopinioncounts says...

From Cllr Clare Coghill's newsletter -"St James Street Big Local -
Following the council securing £1million for the St James Street area, RESIDENTS HAVE TAKEN CONTROL OF THE FUND (my capitals) and great strides are starting to be made in getting a sense of people want to see happen in the area."
Considering a prominent Councillor (allegedly) owns a lot property in the area how much influence and control of the money do other residents have?
From Cllr Clare Coghill's newsletter -"St James Street Big Local - Following the council securing £1million for the St James Street area, RESIDENTS HAVE TAKEN CONTROL OF THE FUND (my capitals) and great strides are starting to be made in getting a sense of people want to see happen in the area." Considering a prominent Councillor (allegedly) owns a lot property in the area how much influence and control of the money do other residents have? myopinioncounts
  • Score: 11

10:45am Sat 1 Feb 14

Villagecranberry says...

Alan_1976 wrote:
Villagecranberry wrote:
One thing for sure, whenever any scandal like this, Al 1976 goes 'all quiet over there, all goes quiet over there, all goes quiet, all goes quiet, all goes quiet over there!'. Just saying.
Sorry to not be able to feed your bizarre obsession with me. Had other more enjoyable things to do on a Friday night.

Everything that needs to be said about this corrupt council has been said above.

You are a very sad individual. Just saying
And there we have it.
[quote][p][bold]Alan_1976[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Villagecranberry[/bold] wrote: One thing for sure, whenever any scandal like this, Al 1976 goes 'all quiet over there, all goes quiet over there, all goes quiet, all goes quiet, all goes quiet over there!'. Just saying.[/p][/quote]Sorry to not be able to feed your bizarre obsession with me. Had other more enjoyable things to do on a Friday night. Everything that needs to be said about this corrupt council has been said above. You are a very sad individual. Just saying[/p][/quote]And there we have it. Villagecranberry
  • Score: -12

10:52am Sat 1 Feb 14

Love your high street says...

Villagecranberry wrote:
When will the police be called or is it just accept that it was Trebles all round?

Another Labour farce with public finances.

Remember folks, vote them back next time round.
Remember Geoff Hammond?
[quote][p][bold]Villagecranberry[/bold] wrote: When will the police be called or is it just accept that it was Trebles all round? Another Labour farce with public finances. Remember folks, vote them back next time round.[/p][/quote]Remember Geoff Hammond? Love your high street
  • Score: 4

6:41pm Sat 1 Feb 14

Don't Give Up says...

Apart from what appears to be total incompetence of the council hierarchy in allowing the money to be used, lost or flushed away without proper records, why has this not been previously investigated by any of the various Scrutiny Committees?
This money should have been spent on encouraging people to shop locally to help businesses by way of keeping public toilets open and longer free parking time.
Apart from what appears to be total incompetence of the council hierarchy in allowing the money to be used, lost or flushed away without proper records, why has this not been previously investigated by any of the various Scrutiny Committees? This money should have been spent on encouraging people to shop locally to help businesses by way of keeping public toilets open and longer free parking time. Don't Give Up
  • Score: 5

10:04pm Sat 1 Feb 14

Villagecranberry says...

Love your high street wrote:
Villagecranberry wrote:
When will the police be called or is it just accept that it was Trebles all round?

Another Labour farce with public finances.

Remember folks, vote them back next time round.
Remember Geoff Hammond?
Who he?
[quote][p][bold]Love your high street[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Villagecranberry[/bold] wrote: When will the police be called or is it just accept that it was Trebles all round? Another Labour farce with public finances. Remember folks, vote them back next time round.[/p][/quote]Remember Geoff Hammond?[/p][/quote]Who he? Villagecranberry
  • Score: -5

10:08am Sun 2 Feb 14

NTiratsoo says...

Councillors Gray and Loakes’ involvement is an interesting one, because according to Companies House and other records, they were directors of the E11 BID Co. at a time when the company posted its accounts late; failed to keep its accounts in an orderly manner; deducted tax and national insurance from employee’s wages but did not hand such monies over to HMRC; and traded with another company when it had been struck off. That’s quite a litany and needs explaining.

As a separate observation, it is deeply amusing that those who claim to be hard nosed businessmen, and so eminent as to represent their peers in relations with the Council, turn out – as this case shows - to have been presiding over an outfit which is almost a case study in how NOT to run a business.
Councillors Gray and Loakes’ involvement is an interesting one, because according to Companies House and other records, they were directors of the E11 BID Co. at a time when the company posted its accounts late; failed to keep its accounts in an orderly manner; deducted tax and national insurance from employee’s wages but did not hand such monies over to HMRC; and traded with another company when it had been struck off. That’s quite a litany and needs explaining. As a separate observation, it is deeply amusing that those who claim to be hard nosed businessmen, and so eminent as to represent their peers in relations with the Council, turn out – as this case shows - to have been presiding over an outfit which is almost a case study in how NOT to run a business. NTiratsoo
  • Score: 9

3:47pm Sun 2 Feb 14

Don't Give Up says...

The two latest comments surely justifies an independent investigation into the whole matter. Maybe with the involvement of Eric Pickles it would be beneficial for all concerned.
The two latest comments surely justifies an independent investigation into the whole matter. Maybe with the involvement of Eric Pickles it would be beneficial for all concerned. Don't Give Up
  • Score: 4

7:37pm Sun 2 Feb 14

Stevo98 says...

"May I ask where all this money been spent? I can't see any of it in Leytonstone. Well, I am still waiting for the Olympics works to be completed in the Leytonstone High Street "

Yeah, what happened to that? They were going to tidy up the southern part of the high road near the overground station, when's that happening? Looks rubbish down there.
"May I ask where all this money been spent? I can't see any of it in Leytonstone. Well, I am still waiting for the Olympics works to be completed in the Leytonstone High Street " Yeah, what happened to that? They were going to tidy up the southern part of the high road near the overground station, when's that happening? Looks rubbish down there. Stevo98
  • Score: 2

10:12pm Sun 2 Feb 14

Villagecranberry says...

Stevo98 wrote:
"May I ask where all this money been spent? I can't see any of it in Leytonstone. Well, I am still waiting for the Olympics works to be completed in the Leytonstone High Street "

Yeah, what happened to that? They were going to tidy up the southern part of the high road near the overground station, when's that happening? Looks rubbish down there.
Stinks the whole affair like South Leytonstow. Neglected and forgotten, like the. Epicure Centre, where more millions were flushed mysteriously down the drains. All New Labour, do not forget people, but of course, vote Labour next time round.
[quote][p][bold]Stevo98[/bold] wrote: "May I ask where all this money been spent? I can't see any of it in Leytonstone. Well, I am still waiting for the Olympics works to be completed in the Leytonstone High Street " Yeah, what happened to that? They were going to tidy up the southern part of the high road near the overground station, when's that happening? Looks rubbish down there.[/p][/quote]Stinks the whole affair like South Leytonstow. Neglected and forgotten, like the. Epicure Centre, where more millions were flushed mysteriously down the drains. All New Labour, do not forget people, but of course, vote Labour next time round. Villagecranberry
  • Score: -7

12:03am Mon 3 Feb 14

Walthamster says...

Alan_1976 wrote:
livedheretoolong wrote:
The funny thing is that we never hear about any of these stories in the Council's own 'newspaper' WFN.
It's about time we had a Dispatches or Panorama investigation, preferably just before the May election.
There is stuff to read in that thing? I thought it was merely supplied as free firelighters
No, it's good for lining the cat's litter tray too.
[quote][p][bold]Alan_1976[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]livedheretoolong[/bold] wrote: The funny thing is that we never hear about any of these stories in the Council's own 'newspaper' WFN. It's about time we had a Dispatches or Panorama investigation, preferably just before the May election.[/p][/quote]There is stuff to read in that thing? I thought it was merely supplied as free firelighters[/p][/quote]No, it's good for lining the cat's litter tray too. Walthamster
  • Score: 2

12:07am Mon 3 Feb 14

Walthamster says...

"the council has refused to provide the Guardian with the relevant documents."

Now there's a surprise!

Once more, excellent work by Nick Tiratsoo and the WF Guardian. And a deafening silence from the well-paid 'opposition' councillors.
"the council has refused to provide the Guardian with the relevant documents." Now there's a surprise! Once more, excellent work by Nick Tiratsoo and the WF Guardian. And a deafening silence from the well-paid 'opposition' councillors. Walthamster
  • Score: 3

7:55am Mon 3 Feb 14

Love your high street says...

Walthamster wrote:
Alan_1976 wrote:
livedheretoolong wrote:
The funny thing is that we never hear about any of these stories in the Council's own 'newspaper' WFN.
It's about time we had a Dispatches or Panorama investigation, preferably just before the May election.
There is stuff to read in that thing? I thought it was merely supplied as free firelighters
No, it's good for lining the cat's litter tray too.
My kids use it for arts and crafts.
[quote][p][bold]Walthamster[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Alan_1976[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]livedheretoolong[/bold] wrote: The funny thing is that we never hear about any of these stories in the Council's own 'newspaper' WFN. It's about time we had a Dispatches or Panorama investigation, preferably just before the May election.[/p][/quote]There is stuff to read in that thing? I thought it was merely supplied as free firelighters[/p][/quote]No, it's good for lining the cat's litter tray too.[/p][/quote]My kids use it for arts and crafts. Love your high street
  • Score: 2

8:45am Mon 3 Feb 14

Alan_1976 says...

Love your high street wrote:
Walthamster wrote:
Alan_1976 wrote:
livedheretoolong wrote: The funny thing is that we never hear about any of these stories in the Council's own 'newspaper' WFN. It's about time we had a Dispatches or Panorama investigation, preferably just before the May election.
There is stuff to read in that thing? I thought it was merely supplied as free firelighters
No, it's good for lining the cat's litter tray too.
My kids use it for arts and crafts.
I found that my child saw the fairy tales in it as too implausible.
[quote][p][bold]Love your high street[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Walthamster[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Alan_1976[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]livedheretoolong[/bold] wrote: The funny thing is that we never hear about any of these stories in the Council's own 'newspaper' WFN. It's about time we had a Dispatches or Panorama investigation, preferably just before the May election.[/p][/quote]There is stuff to read in that thing? I thought it was merely supplied as free firelighters[/p][/quote]No, it's good for lining the cat's litter tray too.[/p][/quote]My kids use it for arts and crafts.[/p][/quote]I found that my child saw the fairy tales in it as too implausible. Alan_1976
  • Score: 2

1:36pm Mon 3 Feb 14

livedheretoolong says...

Walthamster wrote:
"the council has refused to provide the Guardian with the relevant documents."

Now there's a surprise!

Once more, excellent work by Nick Tiratsoo and the WF Guardian. And a deafening silence from the well-paid 'opposition' councillors.
I'm beginning to wonder if there is some sort of conspiracy going on between the local political parties in this council. These kind of stories are all too frequent in Waltham Forest but we never hear anything from opposition councillors condemning the actions of the current Labour lot.

The Conservatives control Chingford and the North and Labour control the South (with the exception of a couple of LibDems here and there). Conservatives have no power in Cabinet but by and large their areas seem to be left alone and remain relatively unspoilt by the impact of Labour policy.

Given the state of this borough and the worrying way in which it has been run for years under Labour one would have thought it to be the perfect opportunity for opposition councillors to mount an active campaign to residents in the whole borough highlighting all the incompetence and mismanagement going on. There's certainly no shortage of material to work with.

Yet come local election time this May I suspect it will be the case of nothing as usual from the Conservatives in the Ward where I live. So it will be no surprise if Labour wins.
[quote][p][bold]Walthamster[/bold] wrote: "the council has refused to provide the Guardian with the relevant documents." Now there's a surprise! Once more, excellent work by Nick Tiratsoo and the WF Guardian. And a deafening silence from the well-paid 'opposition' councillors.[/p][/quote]I'm beginning to wonder if there is some sort of conspiracy going on between the local political parties in this council. These kind of stories are all too frequent in Waltham Forest but we never hear anything from opposition councillors condemning the actions of the current Labour lot. The Conservatives control Chingford and the North and Labour control the South (with the exception of a couple of LibDems here and there). Conservatives have no power in Cabinet but by and large their areas seem to be left alone and remain relatively unspoilt by the impact of Labour policy. Given the state of this borough and the worrying way in which it has been run for years under Labour one would have thought it to be the perfect opportunity for opposition councillors to mount an active campaign to residents in the whole borough highlighting all the incompetence and mismanagement going on. There's certainly no shortage of material to work with. Yet come local election time this May I suspect it will be the case of nothing as usual from the Conservatives in the Ward where I live. So it will be no surprise if Labour wins. livedheretoolong
  • Score: 3

3:19pm Mon 3 Feb 14

mdj says...

'I'm beginning to wonder if there is some sort of conspiracy going on between the local political parties in this council. '

I'd say it was London-wide and further, and not just between the two main parties.
They're all up to the same games in their various fiefs. This side of town is controlled by the Corleones, that side by the Gambinos.
If we had proper scrutiny, there'd be no room in the jails!

One of our Labour councillors was recently jailed for stealing £100,000 from a charity. Can anyone have any confidence he'd have been caught if he'd been stealing from this Council?
'I'm beginning to wonder if there is some sort of conspiracy going on between the local political parties in this council. ' I'd say it was London-wide and further, and not just between the two main parties. They're all up to the same games in their various fiefs. This side of town is controlled by the Corleones, that side by the Gambinos. If we had proper scrutiny, there'd be no room in the jails! One of our Labour councillors was recently jailed for stealing £100,000 from a charity. Can anyone have any confidence he'd have been caught if he'd been stealing from this Council? mdj
  • Score: 0

3:48pm Mon 3 Feb 14

Love your high street says...

mdj wrote:
'I'm beginning to wonder if there is some sort of conspiracy going on between the local political parties in this council. '

I'd say it was London-wide and further, and not just between the two main parties.
They're all up to the same games in their various fiefs. This side of town is controlled by the Corleones, that side by the Gambinos.
If we had proper scrutiny, there'd be no room in the jails!

One of our Labour councillors was recently jailed for stealing £100,000 from a charity. Can anyone have any confidence he'd have been caught if he'd been stealing from this Council?
Do you mean Labour councillor Geoff Hammond?
[quote][p][bold]mdj[/bold] wrote: 'I'm beginning to wonder if there is some sort of conspiracy going on between the local political parties in this council. ' I'd say it was London-wide and further, and not just between the two main parties. They're all up to the same games in their various fiefs. This side of town is controlled by the Corleones, that side by the Gambinos. If we had proper scrutiny, there'd be no room in the jails! One of our Labour councillors was recently jailed for stealing £100,000 from a charity. Can anyone have any confidence he'd have been caught if he'd been stealing from this Council?[/p][/quote]Do you mean Labour councillor Geoff Hammond? Love your high street
  • Score: 0

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